Chronography’s Geography: Software & Database Structure

By Jesse W. Torgerson and Ethan Yaro Note: This is the third in a series devoted to the project “Narrative and Geography in the Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor“. First post here; second here. When we began this project, we had a vague inkling that it might prove productive to … Continue…

How to Show Chronography’s Geography?

by Jesse W. Torgerson Note: This is the second in a series devoted to the project “Narrative and Geography in the Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor“. First post here. This second introductory post justifies the procedures previously outlined, stating how, for the time being, my team and I are worrying … Continue…

Can We Map Space & Place in Historical Narratives?

by Jesse W. Torgerson Prefatory note: This is the prosaic introduction to what will be an ongoing series of posts tagged as “Narrative and Geography” The late antique and medieval world read texts called histories as literature. As just one example: Isidore, the seventh-century Bishop of Seville (Spain), put historia … Continue…

Notes on the margins: how to extract them using image segmentation, Google Vision API, and R

One of the biggest discoveries of the past year for me was the trove of documents available online through the activities of Internet Archive: there is a variety of books from the 19th and early 20th century, scanned, converted into pdf, and even into plain text form (after Optical Character Recognition – OCR – was done on them).  With text available as txt file, it would seem easy to apply various text mining tools to extract information.  This easiness is deceptive: the technology used to recognize text gets in the way.  This summer I was working on extracting text printed in the margins of John of Gaunt’s Register. This was part of Gary Shaw‘s project on the travel of bishops in medieval England.  Below is a summary of the problems I discovered and the solutions I applied.

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